The current, January/February issue of AFAR Magazine dedicates a fair amount space to a beautiful feature on foraging with chefs at the Oregon Coast. Writer Chris Colin joins Will Preisch and Joel Stocks of Holdfast Dining as they gather wild edibles from the beach for one of their dinners in Portland.
Making cameo appearances are two purveyors of coastal goods — Ben Jacobsen of Jacobsen Salt, Jennifer Bloeser and Markus Mead of Frog Eyes Wasabi — as well as Damian Magista and Ryan LeBrun of Bee Local Honey, publicist and former chef Matthew Domingo, and chef David Padberg, who had worked with Preisch, Stocks, and Domingo at Park Kitchen, and at the time had recently left Raven & Rose.
Beautifully shot by photographer Kyle Johnson, it's an evocative peek behind the scenes at a group of friends who just so happen to make some of the best things we love to eat.
But it's also an eye-opener. You'll get a little back story on Priesch and Stocks, who both began cooking seriously as children. And buried in the 12th paragraph is this tasty tidbit: "In 2016, Padberg will open his own much anticipated izakaya in town."
Well, we couldn't let that go without a follow up, so we got in touch with Padberg, who is currently working at Izanami, a new izakaya in Santa Fe at the venerable Ten Thousand Waves luxury spa.
"When Chris Colin started writing the piece for AFAR," Padberg writes, "I was planning to open the izakaya in Portland in the fall of 2014. However, I was introduced to the owner of Izanami and he needed some urgent help with his fledgling restaurant project. We came to an agreement whereby I postponed my own project and came to Santa Fe on an 18-month contract to strengthen the reputation and authenticity of Izanami. Obviously, this had benefits for me in the operating details of my own project." After Padberg took the gig he recruited former Yakuza chef David Gaspar de Alba to join him.
But those who only know of Padberg from his stints at decidedly Northwest spots like Wildwood, Clarklewis, Park Kitchen and Raven & Rose, might be surprised to hear of his izakaya intentions. It turns out he's a major enthusiast of Japanese cuisine and culture who has traveled extensively in Japan, has learned how to read and write in Japanese, has an "an epic Japanese ceramics collection," and is a Certified Sake Professional.
"Many people in the restaurant and sake community know how deep my roots and connections to Japanese food and culture are," he says. "Since 2006, I have been to Japan over a dozen times on culinary tours, apprenticeships, and as a consultant (I've even worked for the Oregon Department of Agriculture in Japan). Over the years, I have hosted numerous Japanese dinners for various chefs and friends."
So, have his plans changed since the move? "I am still planning to return to Portland to open my izakaya in the spring of 2016," he says. "This is a goal I have been working on for many years. It will stand out from the rest of Portland's izakaya landscape."